How much does aviation add to real estate values in vacation destinations?

Happy National Aviation Day!

I’m celebrating on Mount Desert Island, home to Acadia National Park, having arrived here via ghetto-class Cirrus SR20. I’m staying in a neighborhood of oceanfront houses that were worth $2-4 million pre-coronapanic. This evening, about 30 folks gathered for dinner two houses over. Everyone who wasn’t a full-timer had arrived by air, either private or scheduled, to the BHB airport. The lockdowns and Internet (lucky to get 80 Mbits down and 10 Mbits up here) added a lot of value to these houses, but I think that aviation is responsible for much of the value.

I can’t find any economic analysis of how much out-of-the-way vacation spots have increased in value now that they’re accessible by air. These places were worthless before the railroads. Bar Harbor became conveniently accessible via rail, it seems, in 1902 (Wikipedia). The place took a hit from the invention of modern air conditioning by pioneering female engineer Wilma Carrier ( A/C made staying in New York City or Washington, D.C. more tolerable) and then got a boost from improvements in aviation. The overnight sleeper trains from NYC might have been as comfortable as today’s Cape Air flights, but coming to Bar Harbor from Alabama (we met some folks at a restaurant who vacation in Acadia every year) was impractical.

[If we’re climate change alarmists, which I hope that we all are, we can also look at the benefits to Bar Harbor, Maine from CO2 emitted by aviation. Maine isn’t a pleasant place to swim yet, but if Greta Thunberg is correct this could be the next Miami Beach.]

Some over-sharpened iPhone pictures from a carriage road in Acadia:

View from my friend’s back yard:

Cars and Coffee at the Seal Cove Auto Museum:

The big hotel in downtown Bar Harbor:

The only rainbow flag that I could find downtown (note the lack of trans-enhancement):

What it has looked like most of this summer:

Climate change has brought a wet/cold summer to Vermont, Maine, and Quebec.

4 thoughts on “How much does aviation add to real estate values in vacation destinations?

  1. Predicting Greenspun buys a 2nd home back in the northeast for summer while reserving the FL mansion for winter only.

    • Living in a slave state for the summer sounds fantastic! As attractive as the idea of returning to a meek and compliant society is, keep in mind that our kids’ school vacation is only 10 weeks. If we take out 3-4 weeks for a sightseeing trip and 2 weeks to get to Oshkosh and back, however, that leaves only about 4 weeks when we could relax in the Land of Lockdown. I wouldn’t want the hassle of maintaining a second house that we would use only 4 weeks/year.

    • (Also, if you want a contrast to Florida you’re probably best off in dramatic mountains or a historic city. Jackson, Wyoming or London, for example. Maybe New York City could qualify as an interesting contrast, but it isn’t pleasant in the summer.)

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